I’m going to preface this article by saying that you should NOT do this more than once in a casual Commander playgroup. Do it once for a laugh, but then put this broken deck away and play something else.
Today, someone decided that this little mistake was safe for Commander.
If you’ve never seen what Hulk does, it basically reads “When Protean Hulk dies, you win the game”.
You do need to run a few otherwise bad cards in your deck to make this happen, but there are a near-limitless number of ways to win once you have a Hulk death trigger. There are answers to some of the kills, but your opponents need to have them immediately or the game just ends.
How do you get the Hulk onto the battlefield and have it die? I’m glad you asked.
This card is terrible, yet banned in Legacy and restricted in Vintage, because of the Protean Hulk combo. If you have Hulk in hand, Flash resolving almost immediately wins you the game outright.
One of the easiest ways to win is to tutor for Karmic Guide and Viscera Seer first. Guide recurs Hulk, then you eat both the Hulk and the Karmic Guide, but this time tutor Body Double (cloning Guide) and Mogg Fanatic (the actual kill). Keep recurring these for the win.
So that’s a two-card combo that wins a multiplayer game for 2 mana. How do you get both cards in your hand?
Early Magic designers did not understand how powerful tutors would become. With a Summoner’s Pact in your library, any of these cards can (at least indirectly) get either piece of the combo.
In theory, a 100 card singleton format like Commander is intended to be a high variance format, but the legality of large numbers of broken tutors lets you ignore this restriction. You can’t assemble a combo as efficiently as you can in Vintage, but you have more consistency than Modern players do.
And there are a lot of tutors that have been printed that are good. You don’t need to go to the bottom of the barrel – you can play more than a dozen high-quality tutors alongside an enormous amount of card filtering.
So we have a Hulk-Flash core. Where to next?
This is Commander so as well as tutors, we have broken mana at a level that is second only to Vintage. Sol Ring is the second most broken mana rock of all time, second only to Black Lotus, and Mana Vault and Mana Crypt come close. We’ll play and abuse them all.
While building a deck with a lot of tutors and not even the pretence of being fair, there is no reason not to include this little monster, and plenty of reasons to do so.
In a deck where every land is nonbasic, Hermit Druid’s text box reads G, T: Put your entire library into your graveyard. Once you do that there are a million and one ways to win – a personal favorite is to cast Songs of the Damned
which generates a stupid amount of mana, at which point you flashback Unburial Rites to get Laboratory Maniac onto the battlefield, and then flashback Think Twice for the win. But there are other options such as using Soul of Innistrad to bring any creature-based combo from your graveyard into your hand, or flashing back Past in Flames, or casting Yawgmoth’s Will.
For mana producing lands, we’ll need a standard 5 colour Hermit Druid manabase. Ten fetchlands, ten revised duals, some shocklands and/or Amonkhet cycling lands, and some rainbow lands (like Vivid Creek, or City of Brass). Add in some other UG, UB and BG dual lands to finish to manabase.
I’m not going to put an actual decklist together.
I’m not quite mean enough to pull the trigger on this deck on MTGO, which is the one place I have (most of) the relevant cards.
But if you do build this monster and play it on MTGO to troll Commander players, make sure to post video replays of your turn 2 multiplayer wins. Just don’t outstay your welcome – once is funny, twice is irritating, and three times is antisocial.
Unbanning Hulk was a mistake, and the Commander Rules Committee need to learn that.
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